11 Different Types of Owls in Maine

Different Types of Owls in Maine
Photo by Munendra Kumar

Maine is home to a wide variety of wildlife, including many types of owls. There are many types of owls in Maine, ranging from the large Great Horned Owl to the tiny Northern Saw-whet Owl.

Each of these species has unique characteristics and behaviors that make them interesting to observe. 

In this blog post, we will discuss the different types of owls in Maine and the habitats they inhabit.

So if you want to catch a glimpse of some majestic birds of prey, read on to learn more about the various species of owls, you can find in Maine.

1. Boreal Owl

The Boreal Owl is one of the most common types of owls in Maine. This medium-sized owl typically resides in coniferous or mixed forests and is easily identified by its round head, yellow eyes, and streaky brownish plumage. The Boreal Owl has long, broad wings which allow it to fly quickly and silently while hunting. 

This owl is primarily active at night but can sometimes be seen perched on a tree branch during the day. The Boreal Owl mainly feeds on small mammals such as voles, mice, shrews, and sometimes even fish. In Maine, these owls typically breed between April and June and can produce up to seven eggs per clutch.

2. Burrowing Owl

The Burrowing Owl is one of the unique types of owls in Maine that you can find there. These birds have long, slender bodies and round heads, making them distinct from other species of owls. Burrowing Owls inhabit areas with dry open grasslands and agricultural land, where they make burrows into the ground. 

They are usually seen during the day, and their diet consists mainly of insects and small mammals. The Burrowing Owl is currently listed as a species of special concern in Maine due to its declining population and habitat loss. Conservation efforts to protect this species include providing additional nesting sites, limiting the use of pesticides, and preserving existing habitats.

3. Long-Eared Owl

The Long-eared Owl (Asio otus) is a species of owl that can be found in Maine. It is one of the more common owls found in the region and can be seen year-round. This small to medium-sized owl has distinctive ear tufts on its head, along with yellow eyes and mottled brown plumage. 

Long-eared Owls prefer to nest in coniferous forests, and they often roost close together in dense vegetation. They hunt mainly small mammals, birds, and insects. Long-eared Owls, types of owls in Maine, are also quite vocal, and their call is a low-pitched, hoot-like sound. 

They can be seen flying during the evening hours while hunting for food. If you’re looking for Long-eared Owls in Maine, make sure to keep an eye out during the night for their distinct call and hooting sound!

4. Eastern Screech Owl

The Eastern Screech Owl is also one of the most common types of owls in Maine. This owl is a small, nocturnal bird found throughout much of the eastern United States. The Eastern Screech Owl is one of the few owls with a gray and a red morph, which means it can come in two different colorations. 

In Maine, they are mostly seen in gray and brown with white spots and streaks. The Eastern Screech Owl can be identified by its distinctive call, which sounds like a series of high-pitched whinnies. 

This owl tends to hunt in open fields and meadows, where they perch on low branches or fence posts. The Eastern Screech Owl is an important part of the food web in Maine, eating insects, rodents, amphibians, and small birds.

5. Great Gray Owl

The Great Gray Owl is the largest of Maine’s owl species. It is a magnificent bird, with its big yellow eyes and bright white eyebrows contrasting against its mottled gray and brown feathers. The Great Gray Owl can be found in forested areas throughout Maine but is most commonly seen in the northern and western parts of the state. 

Its habitat consists mostly of coniferous and mixed woodlands, though they can also be found in other habitats such as bogs and open meadows. These owls hunt primarily at dusk and dawn and are adept at locating small mammals in dense vegetation. 

They are types of owls in Maine that usually feed on voles, mice, shrews, and other small rodents, as well as some birds. The Great Gray Owl is a long-lived species, typically living around 8 to 10 years in the wild.

6. Northern Hawk Owl

The Northern Hawk Owl is an incredibly beautiful species of owl found in Maine. This owl is distinguished by its long and lanky appearance, brown and white plumage, and rounded face filled with bright yellow eyes. The Northern Hawk Owl is a year-round resident of Maine, but during the winter months, it may migrate south to escape the cold temperatures.

They prefer to live in open forests, clearings, and wetlands and can often be seen perched on high branches or flying through the air. These types of owls in Maine feed mostly on small mammals such as mice, voles, and shrews but will also eat insects and birds. When spotted, the Northern Hawk Owls typically fly away quickly and silently, making them difficult to observe closely.

7. Short-Eared Owl

The Short-eared Owl is a species of owl native to Maine and other parts of North America. This owl species has a large range, covering much of the continent. It has a distinctive call and is easily recognized by its small size and yellowish eyes. 

The Short-eared Owl, on our list of types of owls in Maine, is nocturnal and will hunt for food at night. It is a ground nester, preferring open fields and meadows for its nesting sites. It will also use abandoned buildings and other artificial structures for nesting.

The Short-eared Owl mainly feeds on small mammals, including voles, mice, rats, and other small birds. Its diet includes insects, such as grasshoppers, moths, and dragonflies. Its prey is usually caught in flight or on the ground, with the owl swooping down on them from above. It is an opportunistic hunter, often taking advantage of the presence of other predators to snatch up its prey.

8. Northern Saw-Whet Owl

The Northern Saw-whet Owl is one of the most common species of owls found in Maine. They are small and nocturnal, so they are usually seen at night hunting for small prey. The Northern Saw-whet Owl has a rounded head, yellow eyes, and brownish-gray feathers with white spots. 

They have a unique call that resembles a whistling sound, hence their name, “Saw-whet.” These particular types of owls in Maine are found in wooded areas, often near lakes or streams. If you are lucky enough to spot one of these majestic birds, remember to be respectful and give them space, as they can become easily disturbed.

9. Snowy Owl

The Snowy Owl is one of the most popular types of owls in Maine. This species is larger than a typical owl, with males measuring about 24-27 inches long and weighing about 3 pounds. Its white feathers provide an impressive display in the winter, but its coloration provides some camouflage in its natural habitat. 

This species is mainly found in open habitats like grasslands, meadows, and fields. They can also be found near the coast or on large lakes or ponds. During the summer months, they migrate to tundra regions across Canada and Alaska. The Snowy Owl feeds mainly on small mammals like rodents and voles, though they will also consume birds, fish, and insects. 

They hunt during both day and night, taking advantage of their excellent vision and hearing. They nest in areas of low vegetation, often on the ground or on rocky outcrops. They tend to be solitary creatures but may form small groups when breeding.

This species is listed as the least concern by the IUCN due to its wide range and large population size. In Maine, they are rarely seen during the summer months and only in a few specific areas. While they may not be a common sight, they are a species worth looking out for if you’re lucky enough to spot one!

10. Barn Owl

The Barn Owl is a type of owl found in Maine. This type of owl has a distinct heart-shaped face, white and buff-colored feathers, and an average wingspan of approximately four feet. They usually live in wooded areas, open fields, and near marshes. These owls are most active at night but can also be seen in the early mornings and late evenings.

Barn Owls, one of the many types of owls in Maine, can often be heard calling out during the night. Their calls have been described as a mix between a long drawn, out “screech” and a “hoot.” These calls are made to find food and to attract mates. While they mainly eat mice and other small animals, they sometimes also hunt for small birds and insects.

The barn owl is an important part of the Maine ecosystem because it helps to keep the rodent population down. Unfortunately, their numbers have been declining due to habitat loss and changes in their food sources. To help protect these birds, conservationists are increasing the availability of nesting sites to promote healthy populations of barn owls in Maine.

11. Great Horned Owl

The great horned owl (Bubo virginianus) is a large bird of prey found in Maine. It is the most widely distributed and common owl in the Americas. It is also known as the “tiger owl” or “hoot owl” due to its deep hooting call. The great horned owl is one of the most easily recognized owls due to its size, distinctive ear tufts, and bright yellow eyes. 

The great horned owl can be found year-round in Maine, living in various habitats, including deciduous and mixed forests, coniferous forests, farmlands, riparian areas, and city parks. They are nocturnal and hunt at night, feeding on small mammals such as voles, shrews, rabbits, mice, and squirrels. They are types of owls in Maine that also hunt birds, reptiles, amphibians, and insects.

Great horned owls nest in various sites, including natural cavities, abandoned woodpecker holes, or even man-made nest boxes. Nests are usually made of sticks and are lined with fur or feathers from prey. Great horned owls can become territorial during the breeding season and defend their nests aggressively. 

The great horned owl is an iconic species of Maine and can be seen throughout the state. Their presence has increased over the past few decades due to conservation efforts and improved land management practices. If you’re lucky enough to spot one in Maine, you’ll surely never forget it!


Maine is a great place to explore the different types of owls living in the area. Whether you are a beginner or an experienced birder, there is something for everyone.

From the large Boreal Owl to the tiny Northern Saw-whet Owl, the variety of types of owls in Maine can provide hours of entertainment. 

With the right knowledge and patience, you can enjoy watching these mysterious birds in their natural habitat.

With their distinct looks and calls, the types of owls in Maine can be a rewarding experience for any bird watcher.

If you’re looking to explore the wildlife in Maine, you won’t miss the chance to spot one of the many different types of owls that call the area home. 

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